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Long Term Test Introduction: 2011 F-150 FX4 4×4 EcoBoost

By Kevin Gordon

After having the chance to spend two weeks with the new EcoBoost motor in a Ford F-150, we were left wanting more.  After coming to the conclusion that this engine and truck are something special, we have added our first long term test car to the Techshake Garage. We are pleased to introduce a 2011 Ford F-150 FX4 EcoBoost 4×4 145″ SuperCrew that we will be driving, testing, and documenting for the next two years. We plan to provide a full view into daily life with this truck. Additionally, we hope to use it as a test bed for some select after market items.

Stay tuned for the full details of the truck, including an interesting purchasing process. If you have any questions that you would like answered, please leave them in the comments and we will do what we can to get them answered.
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Review: 2011 Ford F-150 Lariat EcoBoost 4×4
Jun24

Review: 2011 Ford F-150 Lariat EcoBoost 4×4

By Kevin Gordon

I have heard that the first step to beating an addiction is admitting that you have one. Automotive sales prove that Americans have an addiction to full size pickup trucks. Recent fuel prices have pushed some potential truck buyers into withdrawal as they make more fuel efficient choices. Since full size pickups still drive enormous sales numbers even with gas above $4.00 a gallon (in the US) the challenge is to keep sales high as gas prices continue to rise. As a result, manufacturers have attempted a number of strategies to push up their MPG numbers. Some use packages that push up their economy numbers and others have gone so far to deploy hybrid drivetrains. Ford took a new approach and put a small displacement direct injected V6 with two turbos into the 2011 F-150 and have branded it the F-150 EcoBoost.

During my time with the truck I found myself describing the engine to people who knew nothing about the motor as a diesel design that runs on gasoline. I was shocked at how many well informed “car guys” had no clue what this motor was. I have know about it since it was a very early rumor on the Internet and have spent an unhealthy amount of time watching it progress into a mass produced product. This includes all of and also their seemly relentless advertising during televised auto races. While it might strange to say that this engine is using diesel technology, with direct injection, water cooled turbos, and a slight whistle while boost builds, it isn’t a giant leap. So has Ford changed the truck game and allowed buyers to fulfill their jones for a full size pickup without the pump penalty? Hit the jump to find out.

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First Drive: 2012 Toyota Prius v
Jun24

First Drive: 2012 Toyota Prius v

By Charles Krome

Toyota hosted a media launch event for the Prius v this week, and yours truly was on hand to get up close and personal with what will be a key part of the automaker’s lineup when it goes on sale this fall. The vehicle represents Toyota’s effort to expand sales of its hybrid offerings by offering an expanded hybrid, in this case one that delivers 50 percent more cargo room than the Prius proper. Naturally, that requires increased dimensions all around, so the Prius v sits on a wheelbase that is 3 inches longer, while also being 3.3 inches wider, 6 inches longer, 1 inch taller and 232 lbs. heavier.

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Review: 2012 Acura TL Advance
Jun22

Review: 2012 Acura TL Advance

By Charles Krome

Okay, the first thing you should know about the 2012 Acura TL—outside of the fact that it was provided to me by Acura with a full tank of gas—is that this is one good-looking car. Rarely have I gotten as many compliments on a vehicle’s appearance as I did with this one, and they came from a wide range of people, from middle schoolers to mothers-in-law.

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Review: 2011 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ 4×4
Jun17

Review: 2011 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ 4×4

By Chris Haak

I was in Boy Scouts when I was a kid.  We had our meetings each Tuesday night at a local gun club, since they were my troop’s sponsoring organization.  Aside from parental motivation and self-motivation to succeed at earning my Eagle Scout award, perhaps another factor was the Chevrolet Suburban.

You see, one of the perks of attending Boy Scout meetings at a gun club off the beaten path rather than in the basement of a church in some town is that there was a half mile long stone-covered lane to get to the clubhouse where the meetings were held.  All of the fathers in my Boy Scout troop allowed their sons to pilot their cars from the road to the clubhouse, then the other direction after the meeting’s conclusion, once we turned 14.

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Review: 2011 Ford Fusion SE 6MT
Jun13

Review: 2011 Ford Fusion SE 6MT

By Charles Krome

First, let me acknowledge that I’ve been on a bit of a streak with Ford coverage, but that’s just synchronicity—I’m not really working undercover for the Blue Oval. Of course, my review of the Lincoln MKS should be enough proof of that.

Okay, now on to the Ford Fusion, which, as is always the case, was provided to me with a full tank of gas by its automaker.

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